We are standing on the verge of a global crisis. As the population of our planet grows, our current farming infrastructure is simply unable to support it. Especially when we as a species and a nation are so reliant on animal agriculture to sustain us. That’s just one of the many reason why so many of us eschew them for a plant based diet. This past Veganuary saw the highest ever influx of omnivores, vegetarians and pescatarians giving the vegan lifestyle a try. Plant based food sources use a fraction of the land, water and resources of animal agriculture while offering all the nutrition that the human body needs. Without the necessity of any animal suffering and minimal adverse effects on the environment.
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But our mounting concern for the planet has led many to not only embrace a vegan diet and lifestyle but to eschew mass manufactured foodstuffs altogether. Many nascent vegans try to fill the meat shaped hole in their lives with a wide range of processed foods which not only require fairly extensive resources to prepare but tend to be wrapped in non recyclable plastics. For those who really want to take the heft out of their carbon footprint, homesteading may be the way to go. Whether you want to dedicate the rest of your life to self sufficiency or simply reduce your reliance on industrialised agriculture, here are some hints to help you do it.
Know what to grow
Needless to say, you may not be able to start with your favourite family recipes and work your way up. You will need to grow strategically and depending on the size of your operation, the number of mouths you need to feed and the quality of the soil you are using. Erecting a greenhouse is essential in the capricious British weather and like any farmer you will do well to rotate your crops as the seasons change. Needless to say, this will likely have implications on your household menu. You may need to adapt your tastes in line with what’s readily available and become more accustomed to freezing, pickling, drying or otherwise preserving seasonal foods.
Let’s talk equipment
Unfortunately, becoming truly self sufficient involves some pretty serious overhead costs, even for a small operation. Of course if you choose to invest big and visit MkCoop.com for industrial agronomy equipment in the hopes of gaining a higher yield than your family will need, you could always turn your homestead into a boutique business. There’s a significant market in local home grown vegetables, and conscientious consumers in your area will be happy to buy from a local supplier. There’s a pretty comprehensive equipment list featuring everything a nascent homestead needs right here. Just bear in mind that mechanised farming equipment can carry a sizable carbon footprint.
Rescue Unhappy Hens
Even a vegan homestead can benefit from keeping hens, especially if you’re able to rescue some unhappy battery hens. Their needs are fairly simple in terms of food and shelter and they make for great companions. Personally I don’t eat eggs because I believe that the eggs are not mine to eat but whether you’re prepared to eat the eggs of happy rescue hens is up to you. You could always offer the eggs to family or friends who are vegetarian if you wish.
Not only will you know that you’re making a difference to the planet when you homestead, you’ll also set a positive example for others.